Ancient Monuments

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Marlin Chapel Farm moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Northchurch, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.7543 / 51°45'15"N

Longitude: -0.6045 / 0°36'16"W

OS Eastings: 496420.877995

OS Northings: 207100.760973

OS Grid: SP964071

Mapcode National: GBR F53.XNF

Mapcode Global: VHFS3.G5SH

Entry Name: Marlin Chapel Farm moated site

Scheduled Date: 10 June 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009583

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20621

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Northchurch

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Northchurch

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The double island moated site of Marlin Chapel Farm is situated about 1.25km
west of Berkhamsted, close to the Buckinghamshire border. The monument
consists of a large moated enclosure, in the north-west quadrant of which is a
smaller moated enclosure, with an associated fishpond. The smaller enclosure
is nearly square in shape and is orientated north-east, south-west and
measures c.95m long by c.85m wide. The moat arms are between 12.5m and 2m
wide and vary between c.1m and c.2m deep. Only the north-west corner of the
moat remains waterfilled. There are causeways on the northern, western and
southern arms although only the northern example is believed to be original.
The outer moated enclosure is now identified by a hedgerow with an inner ditch
and is attached to the south-east side of the smaller enclosure. It measures
c.145m by c.100m. A pond located to the south-west of the inner enclosure,
and still waterfilled, is considered to have been a fishpond.
There are few documentary sources for the site but the farm appears to have
been named after the nearby ruined chapel of St Mary Magdalene.
With the exception of the farmhouse, all the structures within the monument
are Grade II Listed buildings and are excluded from the scheduling. The
northernmost barns have been converted into three dwellings whilst the barn to
the south-east of the monument remains in use as a garage and workshop.
Excluded from the scheduling are the driveways, the houses, the farmhouse, the
garage and the silage tank. The ground beneath all these features is,
however, included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

The monument at Marlin Chapel Farm is a well-preserved example of a double
moated site. The waterlogged fishpond and ditch will provide ideal conditions
for the survival of organic remains. The interior, which is largely
undisturbed by modern development, will retain evidence for the organisation
of the medieval farmstead.

Source: Historic England

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